Geography is a subset of Earth science one of the natural sciences along with biology, chemistry, and genetics. It studies both physical and cultural features, such as land features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets.
Geography has been called a world discipline and a bridge between the human and physical sciences.
Alexander Von Humboldt, a German traveler, scientist and geographer from 1769-1859, is commonly known as the father of modern geography and other geographers came to conclude that geography is a science. Geography being a subject focused on the multi-disciplinary nature of the study is regarded as a social science.
In many secondary education institutions, across the globe, there is a minimal study of geography. It focuses on many individual cultural and physical science such as history, anthropology, geology, and biology. The discipline of geography is among the most ancient of all sciences because it seeks to answer some of the most primitive human questions as a valuable science.
Geography is the study of the physical, man, and cultural environments of the Earth. Geography is multi-disciplinary in nature where as it studies genetics, history, and mathematics. As compared to other disciplines, geography is completely different. It focuses on the spatial survey and analysis. Geographers also try to look for connections between things such as patterns, movements, and migration and its trends, this process is called geographic or spatial enquiry. Geography is the science that studies the relationships among areas, natural systems, cultural activities, and the interdependence of all over space.
Object of Geography
The object of geography was wider in the past. The whole Earth was the object of geography. Nowadays it is reduced to the geographic sphere of the Earth. It is created by 6 geospheres – 5 natural geospheres and 1 geosphere created by man: lithosphere (rocks and minerals), atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water of the Earth - oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and groundwater), biosphere (flora and fauna with their environment – vegetation and animals), pedosphere (soils), and human-geographic or socio-economic sphere (people and products of their activities – settlements, industrial factories, and agricultural farms).
Geography as a Science
The nature of geography was put in two large volumes in the early 1950s: ‘Geography in the Twentieth Century’ (1951), edited by Griffith Taylor, and ‘American Geography: Inventory and Prospect’ (1954), edited by Preston James and Clarence Jones. However, by then there was growing unease in North America and the United Kingdom with the dominant orientation of the discipline. It was seen as overemphasizing vertical (or society-environment) relationships and largely ignoring the horizontal (or spatial) relationships that characterized societies in which movement and exchange were so important. Geographers, it was argued, should pay more attention to the spatial organization of economic, social, and political activities across the environmental backdrops. Too much effort was spent, as George Kimble expressed it, drawing boundaries that do not exist around areas that do not matter from the air it is the links in the landscape that impress the observer, not the boundaries.
Geography is a science as it studies knowledge that has been collected through scientific inquiry. To conduct a scientific examination, scientists ask testable questions that can be systematically observed and careful evidence collected, and logical reasoning. Some imagination develops a testable idea, called a hypothesis, along with explanations to explain the idea.
Geography contributes to science as a part of a broad, creative, multidisciplinary effort to advance the frontiers of knowledge. In so doing it offers significant insights into some of the major questions facing the sciences, related to the pursuit of knowledge both for its own sake and for the sake of improving society's well-being.
Geographic discoveries and changes were brought forwards through a complex understanding of the Earth, its shape, size, rotation, and mathematics.
Geography is considered a science because it uses the scientific method and maintains scientific principles and logic. There were inventions such as the compass, geographic information systems, global positioning systems, and remote sensing.
The study of geography as a science experience a change in the late 1950s due to the work of Kurt Schaefer, a German professor at the University of Iowa, who published a 1953 paper that attempted to redefine the notion of geography in scientific terms.
After more than 200 years, there was the quantitative revolution, which is the diffusion of statistical techniques in geography to make the subject and theories more precise. It uses mathematical language rather than literature language to make it a scientific discipline.
Auguste Comte believed that scientific methods as the only source of knowledge concerned with empirical questions demanded the ‘sociocracy’ rule of the scientist for the progress of all humans and developed the idea of positivism. Positivism is the fact that can be observed with our sense which is value judgment-free and uses an objective approach.
Therefore, geography is a science as it prefers objectivity to subjectivity and uses the primary source to confirm the hypothesis.
Outcomes of Geography as a Science
The outcomes of geography as a science are as follows:
- Demonstrating proficiency in using geographical research tools including spatial statistics, cartography, remote sensing, GIS, and GPS.
- Identifying, interpreting, and analyzing geographic problems and processes.
- Formulating a research methodology and executing a formal student-led research project.
- Applying knowledge of global issues to a unique scientific problem.
- Identifying human and environmental issues on global, regional, and local scales and critically assessing various perspectives on the issue.
- Evaluating the impacts of human activities on natural environments.
- Applying knowledge of global issues to local circumstances to evaluate the local effects of the issues.
Geography is considered a science because science and technological inventions and discoveries, including the theory of the origin of the universe, the theory of evolution, and the discovery of genes have given humanity many hints relating to human existence from civilized and cultural points of view. In the present, squarely addressing geography as a science is an essential challenge to the globe. However, it is important to address in the future based on scientific and civilized perspectives, while also maintaining a deep awareness of the need for time. Geography is not entirely included as a discipline that can assist in contributing to this new science that is growing momentum. As Pitman (2005) states, Earth system science is developed in the international scientific community with little reference to geo-communities. Hence, geography has contributed to the science field using publications and the application of certain methodologies in solving problems that are associated with spatial phenomena.
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